Goodbye to Mars

Throughout much of this summer, the planet Mars glowed magnificently large and red in the southern sky, often my beloved companion as I walked my rounds here at the courthouse, watching and waiting for the terrorists that fortunately have never shown up. In mid-summer, Venus, huge and brilliant, shone in her place of honor in the west, with Jupiter not far to the south, and trying his utmost to catch up with her. (I think he has a thing for her, and I can’t blame him. She’s really something to behold.)

Mars was always playing second fiddle, as Jupiter would never quite let the red planet get close enough to touch his would-be mate. But in sheer showiness, Mars bowed to no one. He was the closest to earth, thus the biggest, he has been since 2003, and at times he out-shone Jupiter, and in his proud way he outdid them all, even putting old Luna, the moon, to shame, because Mars was always there, and Luna, in all her normal fickleness, only shone when she felt like it.

Sadly, those days are coming to a close. Mars will start slipping away from us now, bit by bit, and those who didn’t take the tine to watch him may have missed out on the night sky’s wonderful display forever.

In 2003, last time Mars was nearly this close to the Earth, it had been thousands of years. And I don’t have thousands of years left to watch for his return this close to us. My quiet rounds of this huge brick edifice won’t be the same once Mars fades away, to take his insignificant place once more among the surrounding stars. This is a summer I will always remember, for the love triangle I watched in our beautiful solar system: Venus, Jupiter, and Mars.